Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Textiles and Clothing


Textiles and Clothing


Until recently, little attention has been paid to the importance of textile arts in women's lives, and virtually no research has been done on the effects of knitting. This study sought to understand the motivational factors of contemporary women knitters and illustrate that knitting is an important part of their lives. Information was gathered from 13 women of the greater Des Moines - Ames, Iowa area, through semi-structured, open-ended interviews. While half of the knitters learned to knit in their youth from family members, others learned when they were older from friends or as part of a class. Women knit extensively while waiting for appointments, attending meetings, visiting friends, watching television, and relaxing at home. The motivations for women's knitting and the importance of knitting in their lives emerged under two main themes. The first theme highlighted that knitting had positive effects on the health and well-being of the women, as a calming activity and through connections with others. In a second theme, knitting was also an important part of women's lives because it was empowering. Women felt accomplishment in their knitting; it was viewed as a legitimate and valid use of time and served as an expression of self. Through their knitting, women were contributing to changes in societal preconceptions about knitting. This study showed that knitting was important to these women. They believed that knitting yielded positive effects on both their physical being and mental states of mind. They also considered knitting to be a significant part both of who they are and of their lives. A model was developed to describe the relationship between the two research themes and the importance of knitting to the women knitters.


Copyright Owner

Catherine A. Hunt



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

74 pages